“I look at the Gymternet quite often.”
-2017 world champion Morgan Hurd, in an interview with Gymcastic. Clever girl.
Sponsors drop USAG: USA Gymnastics’ biggest sponsors are saying “it’s not me, it’s definitely you” amidst the biggest sexual abuse scandal in sports history. Proctor & Gamble, Hershey’s, and Kellogg’s will not renew their sponsorship deals with USAG.
In addition, Under Armour, which was expected to continue providing all national team apparel through Tokyo 2020, is ending their contract with USAG early.
Who’s left? AT&T, NBC, GK leos, and Chobani are a few of USAG’s remaining sponsors. It’s unclear at this point if they’ll stay or go.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Meanwhile, USAG made updates to their bylaws in an effort to make the sport safer, including by creating a Safe Sport Committee and making it easier to file complaints. This comes shortly after Illinois Gymnastics Institute coach Todd Gardiner was added to USAG’s list of permanently ineligible members for violating sexual misconduct provisions.
New blood: World gold medalist Ivana Hong will join Terin Humphrey on the Women’s Gymnastics Athletes’ Council, but both will be involved with team selection leading to a conflict of interest that has many enraged. New USAG President Kerry Perry says she wants to “collaborate with the Athletes’ Council in building a culture of empowerment throughout the organization, with a focus on athlete safety.”
Nassar appeals: Meanwhile, Larry Nassar will appeal his 60-year prison sentence for child porn charges. He still faces at least 25 years in prison for sexual conduct charges, for which he has pled guilty.
MSU under fire
Nassar’s boss steps down: Michigan State’s Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel stepped down from his position on Thursday, citing medical reasons. Strampel was a supporter of Nassar during a 2014 Title IX investigation wherein Nassar was accused of sexual assault.
Survivors speak up: Several survivors addressed the MSU Board of Trustees on Friday. MSU President Lou Anna Simon apologized to the survivors at the meeting, denying a cover-up and declining a potential pay hike. She also sent a letter of apology to the MSU community, and the board approved a $10 million dollar fund to provide counseling for abuse victims.
Survivors are not impressed: They say it’s way too little, way too late. Listen to poised and eloquent superwoman Rachael Dollenhander’s interview with Current Sports: “I would not categorize [what Simon said] as an apology…there was no accepting of responsibility for what happened.”
- Why aren’t more people talking about this? Read Bryan Arman Graham’s op-ed in The Guardian.
- MSU needs to take responsibility for its role in Nassar’s abuse, says Dvora Meyers in an op-ed.
Trouble in Canada
#CanadaToo: Their women’s national team director Dave Brubaker has been charged with 10 sex crimes, including sexual assault and sexual exploitation. Brubaker is known for coaching Team Canada at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Gymnastics Canada has placed him on administrative leave.
Warrior princess Aly Raisman responded to the news on Twitter: “My heart goes out to anyone he ever hurt.”
What to watch
Goodbye, 2017: The Voronin Cup, starting today, will be the last major meet to top off this shitastic year. Viktoria Komova is expected to make her comeback here, along with Tatiana Nabieva. Our favorite bare-armed age defier Oksana Chusovitina will be there to compete in her 4 millionth competition.
Prepare for glory: We’re once again sending you, our lovely readers, to the Balance Beam Situation for Spencer’s in-depth season previews of your favorite teams.
Baby on board: A seventh-grader verbally committed to the University of Georgia. Check out Emily Giambalvo’s op-ed on why this is problematic, then pause for a moment to remember your seventh-grade crush.
Because you asked…
Read about the Russian gymnast who got blacklisted for throwing a Patterson without permission, then pause and remember the time you snuck out to get drunk with Chris.
Coming to a SCAM near you: Canada’s Brooklyn Moors will compete at the 2018 American Cup in March. Morgan Hurd has already been announced as the US rep, with the remainder of the field to be named in the coming weeks.
When Advil doesn’t cut it: World champion Maria Paseka had back surgery that will keep her out of the gym for seven to nine months, according to her Instagram. In an interview, she said the last time she wasn’t in pain was almost a decade ago, when she was 13.
Bye Felicia: Honorary Miss Universe Simone Biles is not here for your hair hate.
Need to know
The Future of Denmark is so bright, it’s gotta wear shades.
Goodbye, Hershey’s. Thus ends another confusing partnership between a sports organization and a food its athletes can’t eat.
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